Contractors: Should You Expand into Different Types of Jobs?
Very often, it’s easy to specialize in certain types of jobs. You may find them more enjoyable or they might be best suited to your talents. It may even be that you simply got used to them after working a number of them in a row. Many contractors get comfortable within their niche, but there may be times when you have to leave your niche behind.
The benefits of working outside of your niche could potentially increase your client base and help ensure that your work won’t suddenly dry up. Taking that first step into expanding into different job types isn’t always easy, but many times it can be worth it.
Determine Your Direction
You already know your current market, but it’s time to look at the jobs you’re capable of doing, but not getting.
Do you work primarily residential jobs, but are thinking of expanding into the commercial building field? Do you typically work in commercial storefronts but are considering a move into residential, industrial or maybe even hotels?
Evaluate not only the amount of interest you have in the jobs in that field, but also the amount of additional work that would become available to you as a result of this expansion.
Can You Handle It?
Perhaps harder than expanding beyond your comfort zone is having to actually stop and think about whether you can really pull off the jobs you’re thinking about. Don’t start doubting yourself just yet, though – this is a much more literal question than you might realize. Stop and think about exactly what the differences are between these new types of jobs and those that you’re accustomed to doing.
Are there any special certifications or other requirements that might prevent you from completing a new job? Are there insurance requirements you can’t meet at this time or is specialized training required to work with certain materials?
These are valid concerns and you may have to take care of some of them before you’ll be able to work on other types of jobs.
What is Required?
Let’s say that you get everything squared away and can bid on jobs outside of your usual comfort zone. What exactly will you need to actually get the job done? Will you have to hire more crew members or pick up new subcontractors for certain aspects of the job that you wouldn’t normally deal with? What about materials – do you have everything you need in storage or will you have to stock up or buy specialty supplies before you start?
These are really important points that should be worked out early, before you even start working on your first bid. Every item you need and every crew member or subcontractor you have to pick up will have a direct impact on your final bid for the job; not spending enough time analyzing it could leave you with less money than it will actually take to get things done.
Don’t Take it Lightly
Expanding into new job fields isn’t something that should be taken lightly. As you can see, there are a lot of considerations that go into this type of move. If you’re not familiar with the jobs, you’ll need to spend a lot more time working up a bid and double checking to make sure that you’ve allowed yourself enough leeway to get the job done without running over your budget. The last thing you want to do is rush into a situation like this.
The same considerations apply when you do get a job in an unfamiliar industry. Even if you’ve got plenty of money and a crew to get the job done, you could still run into trouble if you haven’t allotted yourself enough time to actually complete the job. While you can rush things a bit on job sites where you know the process like the back of your hand, trying to speed things up when you’re in unfamiliar territory all but guarantees there will be mistakes that you won’t catch until it’s too late.
Should You Expand?
This is all a lot to think about and it may have you second guessing your desire to expand into new types of jobs. Just because a few things could go wrong at first doesn’t mean it’s not worth considering, though. It could be a good move for your business and could definitely help avoid stagnant markets down the line. Just make sure not to rush the expansion, since that alone can have a major negative impact on your reputation.